Vacancy at St Hughs Close, Stokenchurch

We have a 2 bedroom bungalow available for letting at our housing for older people scheme in Stokenchurch.  This property would suit a couple, where at least one person is aged over 60, or a single person aged over 60 requiring an overnight carer.

St Hughs Close is a sheltered housing scheme for the over 60’s, located in the heart of the village of Stokenchurch.  It has been designed to help residents live independently whilst offering security and peace of mind.  The purpose-built properties consist of 32 one and two-bedroom bungalows and two one-bedroom flats.  Each property is self-contained, with its own front door.

Our experienced Scheme Manager provides advice and support to residents during normal working hours.  There is also a 24 hour emergency telephone call alarm system enabling residents to stay safe and confident in their own home.  There is a common room where residents can interact, and there is a real sense of community at the scheme.  The weekly rent, including service charge, is £150.24.

If you are interested in renting this property or in joining our waiting list for St Hughs, please contact our Housing Management team on 01494 480340.

Vacancy at St Hughs Close, Stokenchurch2022-05-03T09:32:53+01:00

Bank Holiday Closures

Please note, in addition to our normal weekend closures, our staff will not be working on the following dates:

  • Early May Bank Holiday – Monday 2 May 2022
  • Spring Bank Holiday – Thursday 2 June 2022
  • Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday – Friday 3 June 2022

If you have an emergency repair, and our office is closed, you should still telephone the main office number 01494 480340.  You will be asked to select option 1 for heating or hot water repairs, or option 2 for any other emergency repair, and your call will be diverted to an emergency contractor.

This process should only be used if you have an emergency repair outside office hours and there is a danger to your health or wellbeing and/or there is a risk of serious damage to the property.  Please note you may be recharged if you call out a contractor on an emergency without good cause.

Genuine emergencies will include:

  • serious flooding / leaks (where a bowl cannot be used for the drip)
  • total electrical failure
  • loss of mains water
  • property no longer secure and / or water-tight
  • no heating and/or hot water
  • blocked toilet waste pipe (if the only toilet in the property)
  • attending to broken glazing (if the security of the property is compromised)
  • other health and safety risk.

The emergency service is a ‘make safe’ service, unless the contractor is able to resolve the fault there and then.

If you suspect a gas leak, please ring the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999, open doors and windows and leave the property.

For all other matters, please phone the office on 01494 480340, during normal office hours.

Bank Holiday Closures2022-04-28T16:08:06+01:00

New money guidance from the Money and Pensions Service

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has launched new guidance to help people manage changes to the cost of living. The focus is on people who have not yet missed payments on their bills or credit commitments, but who are at serious risk of doing so.

The guidance on its MoneyHelper website helps people manage their money in uncertain times. These resources and tools are aimed at people who:

Managing your money in uncertain times | MoneyHelper

New money guidance from the Money and Pensions Service2022-04-05T16:31:24+01:00

Homes for Ukraine

We have all been horrified by the Russian invasion, and the plight of the Ukrainian refugees, and many of us have been wondering what we can do to help.

You may have heard that the Government has launched the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to enable people living in the UK to host Ukrainian individuals or families for six months.

The scheme is open to people living in social rented housing and to shared owners.  If you have space in your home and are thinking of registering to host someone through the scheme, please contact our Housing Team on 01494 480340 (select option 2) or via email – housing@bucksha.co.uk

We will need to provide our consent and ensure that the accommodation is appropriate.  We will also be able to help to connect people up to the support that is available.

A link to the Government’s most recent guidance and FAQs is provided below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions

Homes for Ukraine2022-03-24T10:40:50+00:00

Explaining the 2022/23 Rent Increase

You should by now have received notification of the annual rent review and you will have seen that our rents, in common with other social housing landlords, are going up from April.  This article aims to provide some further explanation and to encourage you to seek help and advice if necessary.  

How much are rents going up?

From April 2022, following the approval of the Association’s Board of Management, Bucks Housing will be increasing its Social Rents by 4.1%.

For a typical two bedroomed property in High Wycombe, this will result in an increase of around £5 per week.

How has the increase been calculated? 

As a social housing provider, we must set and review our rents according to government guidance.  Under this guidance, rent increases are calculated using a measure of inflation known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Rent increases are capped at the rate of CPI in the previous September, plus 1% *.  In September 2021, the CPI rate was 3.1% and the rent increase will therefore be capped at 4.1% (3.1% plus 1%).

* For a small number of our customers, including those living in Key Worker, Shared Ownership or Temporary Accommodation, properties formerly owned by The Betty Messenger Trust or where there is a lease, the rent is calculated as specified in the tenancy agreement, lease or in line with conditions set by the local authority.

Why are you increasing the rent by the full 4.1%?

In making the decision to increase the rents by the maximum allowed, the Association’s Board understands that other household costs are also rising, and that this increase will put pressure on many of our customers’ finances.  However, the Association is also experiencing significant increases in the cost of providing services to you.  This is particularly the case in relation to the responsive repairs and planned maintenance services where we are experiencing cost increases in both labour and materials.

As a not-for-profit housing association, any surplus that we make from rental income is reinvested into repairing and maintaining our homes, providing new homes and seeking to improve our services year on year.

It is also important to remember that Bucks Housing charges Social Rents, rather than the much higher Affordable Rents, charged by most housing associations.  This does mean that the increase in rent will be lower in real terms.

Is there anything I need to do?

If you receive Universal Credit (UC) and are claiming Housing Costs to pay your rent, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know that your rent is changing.  You should receive a ‘To Do’ notification in your UC journal during the first week of April.  This should be completed after the change becomes effective, but before the end of your next UC assessment period.  We are aware that a small number of residents do not have an online journal for their UC claim.  Please contact the DWP by telephone if this is your situation.

If you don’t tell the DWP about this change, your award will not be increased to reflect your new rent and you could miss out on benefit that is due to you.  Unfortunately, we are unable to tell the DWP on your behalf, but should you need any help with this task, please contact the Housing Management team who will be happy to assist you.

If you are no longer in receipt of Universal Credit, it would be helpful if you could let us know this.

If you pay your rent by Standing Order, you will need to let your bank know the new rent.  If you pay by Direct Debit, this should increase automatically.

If you receive Housing Benefit (HB), we will let the relevant council HB department know the new rent.  However, if your HB is paid direct to you, you should notify them of the new rent.

What help / support is available to me?

Anyone who is worried about the increase and / or their ability to pay the rent should contact our Housing Team on 01494 480340. Our staff will work with you to ensure that you are maximising your income and will make you aware of any other funding that may be available to you.  If you are concerned, please do not wait until the increase in April, but contact us now.  We will be happy to offer help and support where we can.

Explaining the 2022/23 Rent Increase2022-02-24T10:36:12+00:00

Storms, floods and winter weather

We have all seen what effects the weather can have on our homes, and with storms Dudley and Eunice hitting the UK, it’s a good idea to stay safe and protect your belongings.  This flier has been produced by Thistle Insurance Services and it provides some safety tips and advice to prevent flood damage, as well as information on the My Home Contents Insurance Scheme.

Storms, floods and winter weather2022-02-17T15:42:49+00:00

Important changes to our repairs and maintenance service

From 7 February 2022, we are making some changes to how we deliver parts of our repairs and maintenance service.

Changing contractors

MCP have been providing the majority of the repairs service, on our behalf, for the past year.  We have been monitoring the performance of MCP closely and there have been serious issues with their performance and delivery.  We have also taken your feedback into consideration.

Despite working closely with MCP to try to resolve the issues, we have now agreed with them that, from 7 February 2022, they will no longer provide the repairs and maintenance service for the Association.

Day to Day repairs – what will change?

The main change that you will notice is that we are moving from three repairs categories (Emergency, Urgent and Routine) to two (Emergency and Routine).

We aim to respond to repair requests within the following timescales:

  • Emergencies – 24 hours to respond and make safe (the same as currently)
  • Routine repairs – to be completed in an average of 17 working days

You should continue to report repairs as normal and the new priorities will be advised to you when you call in.  The full list of repairs by category is available here.

To ensure as smooth a transition as possible, we are working with a number of smaller, local contractors, some of whom will already be known to you.

Planned Programme

We have already engaged a new Contractor (Armina Ltd) to continue with the delivery of the Planned Programme (replacement kitchens, bathrooms, roofs etc.) and we will be contacting affected tenants to discuss future installation dates.

Outstanding Repairs

We are working closely with MCP to ensure a smooth transition and with as little impact on you as possible.

If you have already reported a repair that you are waiting to have completed, you do not need to contact us. MCP will continue to deliver the service as normal up to and including the 4 February 2022.

We apologise for any inconvenience these changes may cause.  However, we are confident that the changes will allow us to provide you with better services, improved turnaround time, and, we hope, improved customer satisfaction.

Important changes to our repairs and maintenance service2022-01-26T16:28:55+00:00

Our Christmas & New Year opening times

Our office remains closed, with our staff working mainly from home.  Please note that staff will not be working between 12.30pm on Friday 24 December 2021 and 8.30am on Tuesday 4 January 2022.

If you have an emergency repair during this period, please call the normal office phone number: 01494 480340, and you will be directed to one of our out of hours contractors.  Please only use this number to report a genuine emergency repair:

  • serious flooding
  • total electrical failure
  • loss of mains water
  • property no longer secure and/or water tight
  • a health and safety risk
  • no heating / hot water.

Please note that you may be recharged if you call out a contractor and it is found not to be a genuine emergency.

If you smell gas, this should be reported immediately to the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Non-emergency repairs over this period may be reported by email to maintenance@bucksha.co.uk or via our web site www.buckshousing.co.uk and staff will deal with these once they are back at work.

If you are away over Christmas / New Year, please remember to leave your heating on low in case of a drop in temperature and the risk of frozen or burst pipes.

And finally, Seasons Greetings to all of our residents and partners from all of us here at Bucks Housing!

Our Christmas & New Year opening times2021-12-22T09:37:18+00:00
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